The best music is always birthed from some kind of loss and has an ache at the centre of it. The longing or yearning attached to the sound can indicate that an artist is hurting on many different levels and for many different reasons. This hurt and collection of emotive sounds will always resonate quicker with an audience because it is rooted in honesty and truth. You can’t fake hurt or personal pain. The rock n roll corporate machine can certainly manufacture it but when you hear the real thing you know it and you do your best to immerse yourself in it regarldess of how foregin that piece of art is to you stylistically. That feeling of connecting to a great piece of art and having it understand your own emotions is a vital part to the listening experience for not just me but anyone who values depth and intensity from their music.

I’d nominate Jen Cloher’s second album “Hidden Hands” as a masterpiece soaked in all kinds of loss and hurt. Sometimes the emotion of this album is overbearing and that is why as a piece of art it stands as such a charming movement of music. The hurt swaying in and out of the sounds on display charm you and pull you in. This is not angst for angst is rooted in anger and requires a violent kind of dialouge creatively to communicate it, however there is a deep scream at the centre of the album. The kind of loss funding the emotional delivery of this record is some intense real world drama that anyone who is a fan of Jen’s work understands (for those who don’t all I will say is that Jen had to watch both her parents pass away and also suffer quite intensly).  There isn’t teenage love life drama here, this is real adult confusion and you can hear in Jen’s voice and her lyrics the suffering she herself is going through whilst watching her parents slip away. That kind of loss is real and blooms all kinds of questions from your mind while at the same time sees you having to navigate a new history all alone without that family connection present. As I’ve mentioned numerous times, it is a hella intense process to navigate.

This was the album where I became pretty addicted to Jen’s music because of how personal she was on all the songs. There is still hints of joy and celebration framing some of the songs but overall there is some heavy reflection going on with that stream of wonder swaying in and out of each song. It is the kind of music that helps you graduate from the confusion of your twenties to the real world stage of your thirties. There is so much to love about this album and I find that I turn to this record quite a bit in those times of loss just because it understands and articulates the confusion you navigate when you witness the death of a loved one.

The song that sums up the beauty of this record is the final track on the album “Watch Me Disappear” which I think you should all listen to right now:

I think this is a very important album and a vital addition to any serious music fans collection. This album showcases music at its most purest and most honest and that is all I look for when I’m on the hunt for new adventures in hi-fi.

By: Dan Newton


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